Note that the object of the verb now appears in the subject position. In this familiar sentence, we already know “the ball” is the direct object. Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. A few examples of this kind of verb include “breathe,” which might be used to refer to a specific substance or the general act of breathing and “kick,” which can be used to describe kicking a specific object or the motion of kicking itself. Here are a few questions you can ask to determine the transitivity of a verb in a given sentence. Transitive Verb. In the active voice sentence, “the ball” is clearly the direct object, as it is directly impacted by the verb. The good news for transitive verbs is that you don’t really need to pay attention to the indirect object a verb may have. Many verbs have both a transitive and an intransitive function, depending on how they are used. Again, don’t be tripped up by the switch in the usual sentence order. What is a passive verb? State whether the verbs in the following sentences are transitive or intransitive. If you see a sentence which says “I am running” and one which says “I ran,” you immediately know when each of those happened. A transitive verb is one that is used with an object: a noun, phrase, or pronoun that refers to the person or thing that is affected by the action of the verb . Even though the “goal” is an abstract idea, it is still what was directly affected by the verb “scored.”. A great example of this is the rule for the past tense. As already discussed, verbs can take other arguments. That makes the sun our indirect object in this sentence. To save time, we won’t go into the details here and will make do with a quick summary. IAP, 2010). Indeed, there is no direct object in the clause “Sam and I high-fived,” making the verb an intransitive one in our original example. Note, however, that just because a verb is an instance of incomplete predication does not automatically mean it is a transitive verb. We’ve already discussed the verb “kicked” in this context, so the reason that verb is transitive should be clear. Part of the meaning conveyed by (5a), for example, is that Sam is our best friend. This is a repeat of our earlier example sentence. Tetra Images / Jamie Grill / Getty Images. © Linguaholic 2020 | Iseli International Commerce | Privacy Policy | Contact | About Us, Using transitive verbs with a direct object, Using transitive verbs with a direct and indirect object, Verbs that can be transitive or intransitive, Identifying transitive verbs with predication, What happens to transitive verbs in passive voice, The essential properties of transitive verbs: a review, Comma before a Gerund: The Definitive Guide, a lengthy guide to identifying intransitive verbs. What are some examples? Grammatical terms can be confusing, but the main purpose of grammar is actually to clarify what role a word has in a sentence. To be sure you are dealing with a transitive verb, look for an object that is directly affected by the verb. Sandra kicked the ball. What's the difference between a verb, adverb, and adjective. ; The teenager earned a speeding ticket. Both verbs are transitive. However, because of the way the sentence is phrased the preposition “to” has been dropped due to other grammar rules. The direct object, again, is the noun or noun phrase that is directly impacted by the verb in the sentence or clause. As has already been noted several times, what makes a verb a transitive verb is the presence of a direct object. For a direct object: cereal, car, pen, house, etc. If the answer to either of the first two questions is “yes,” then you are dealing with a transitive verb. The predicate NP or AP says something about or describes the direct object, just as the predicate NP that is a complement of a linking verb describes the subject. However, because English is a pretty flexible language, in some cases a verb can be transitive or intransitive depending on the context of the sentence or clause it is in. A full description of predication is in our guide on intransitive verbs. Hey fellow Linguaholics! Even if the subject, “me,” is moved to the predicate instead of dropped completely, it can’t act as a direct object because “me” is not what is being kicked. This means you can see examples of both complete predication and incomplete predication with intransitive verbs. This is because putting the object into the subject position means it is not a direct object any more, and the subject, now in the predicate position, is actually an indirect object as indicated by the preposition preceding it. Yellow is simply a description of the ball. To properly understand when an object is a direct object, let’s take a look at direct and indirect objects. For example, verbs like “is” and “was” are not transitive verbs even though they are typically followed by an argument. ; A way to identify a transitive verb is to invert the sentence, making it passive. 2. The Definition and Examples of Transitive Verbs, 100 Key Terms Used in the Study of Grammar, Definition and Examples of Postmodifiers in English Grammar, Constituent: Definition and Examples in Grammar, Predicators or Main Verbs in English Grammar, Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia, M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester, B.A., English, State University of New York, Elena Kagan clerked for Thurgood Marshall and has long. Note, however, that “the ball” has moved out of the predicate position and is now in the subject position in the passive voice sentence. Complex-transitive verbs in English include believe, consider, declare, elect, find, judge, keep, know, label, make, name, presume, pronounce, prove, rate, regard, and think. What are linking verbs, helping verbs, and action verbs? There is a special relationship between the two complements of a complex transitive verb. Clause two contains a phrase, “the back of the net,” as its direct object, but again is the same pattern. Again, “the ball” is the direct object of the verb “kicked.” This makes it a transitive verb. Intransitive verbs are those verbs that do not have an object. At its core, a transitive verb is any verb which acts on a direct object. All you need to do is look for a direct object, or an object that is directly impacted by the verb, to know if you are looking at a transitive verb. Although it seems like “scored” might not be transitive, the noun phase “a goal” is in fact its direct object. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. One of the more confusing aspects of a verb is its transitivity. Linguistically speaking, the property that rules whether a verb is transitive or intransitive is called its transitivity. If you ever see a sentence where the verb is an instance of complete predication, you can be sure it is not a transitive verb. Transitive Or Intransitive Verb Exercise. However, sometimes direct objects cannot be followed after an action verb because its intransitive (see below). (subject)+(verb)+(object).The object of the verb kick in the above sentence is the ball.Transitive verbs like kick are common in English. It simply describes the scientist and does not affect the transitivity of the verb. “Sam and I high-fived after I scored a goal.”, As we’ve already seen, “scored” is a transitive verb with a direct object of “a goal.”. In today’s post, we are covering the opposite side of the coin: transitive verbs. Put simply, there’s only one: A transitive verb must have a direct object. However depending on the way a sentence is worded you may see indirect objects that do not use prepositions. What about Judy? If you think about it more, it’s clear that the present is what’s being given, and it is being given “to me.” That makes “present” the direct object” and “me” the indirect object. Clause one, “After I kicked the ball,” follows our already familiar pattern. Note that verbs often belong to more than one category. However, in our original sentence, “Sam and I high-fived.” Because Sam is part of the subject, he can’t be the direct object. In the sentence “I kicked the ball to Judy,” there are two objects. Therefore, even though it’s confusing the verb “kicked” is technically intransitive in the passive voice. In English grammar, a complex transitive is a verb that requires both a direct object and another object or an object complement. Remember that direct objects are those which are directly impacted by the action of a verb. If there’s no direct object, the verb you are looking at is intransitive. Is there a direct object for “high-fived,” something which is directly acted on? If your action word has no object at all, or only impacts something indirectly, it is intransitive. What Are Subject Complements in English Grammar? The adjective or noun phrase that qualifies or renames the object that appears before it is sometimes called an object predicate or object predicative. To reiterate, a direct object is any noun or phrase which is directly affected by a verb.